Source to Fox: Whistleblower did not have 'firsthand knowledge' of Trump-Ukraine phone call

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," September 23, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHARLES PAYNE, FOX NEWS: We're live at the United Nations, where the president just wrapped up a one-on-one with the prime minister of Singapore. Later this hour, he will be sitting down with the president of Egypt.

And when he speaks, we will bring you those comments live.

Welcome, everyone. I'm Charles Payne, in for Neil Cavuto. And this is "Your World."

The president's visit to the U.N. comes as tensions with Iran continue to heat up. The president today referring to Iran as a state of terror.

Eric Shawn is at the U.N. with the very latest -- Eric.

ERIC SHAWN, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hi, Charles.

We just heard the president with Singapore. The next meeting in a few moments from now will be with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

It's been a very busy day on the international front here for the president.

And you know, as you just heard in his remarks that we just heard just now, even though he stepped into the international arena this morning, domestic politics are not far behind.

The president addressing that continuing controversy over the phone call with the president of Ukraine, whom he is supposed to sit down with, by the way, right in the middle of all this on Wednesday.

This comes after that whistle-blower apparently had claimed that the president pressured Ukraine to investigate Vice President Joe Biden after his son Hunter's energy deal.

Well, the Ukraine government is pushing back. They're saying that there was no such pressure at all. Democrats, though, pressing forward. And in response to that, the president was quite blunt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's just a Democrat witch-hunt. Here we go again. They failed with Russia . They failed with recession. They failed with everything.

And now they're bringing this up.

The one who's got the problem is Biden, because you look at what Biden did, Biden did what they would like to have me do, except for one problem. I didn't do it.

What Biden did is a disgrace. What his son did is a disgrace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAWN: The president arrived and then went with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to a U.S.-sponsored religious freedom summit, IN which they highlighted persecution of various religions around the globe, specifically Christians in the Middle East and the Uyghurs in China.

And then on to tomorrow, where it will be top subject Iran, the president expected to call for a global coalition to confront Iranian aggression, especially after those missile strikes on the Saudi Arabian oil fields.

On Friday, the administration laid out some new sanctions that are expected to help torpedo the Iranian economy, something the president alluded to when he met with the Pakistani prime minister.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I mean, Iran, if you look at what -- that's been really the state of terror, and I have been saying it's the number one state of terror in the world.

And the agreement we had doesn't cover that. It wasn't doing well. It was doing very poorly. And now Iran is doing very poorly. Iran is a different place than when I took over.

When I took over the United States, when I became president, Iran was a real threat to the entire Middle East and maybe beyond. And now they're having very, very big difficulties, to put it mildly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAWN: Well, when the president takes that green marble podium here at the United Nations General Assembly tomorrow, he's going to have his work cut out for him.

FOXNews.com reporting that a new State Department report says that the U.S. votes 70 percent of the time against General Assembly resolutions. Those resolutions, by the way, brought up by countries that happen to take hundreds of millions of our money.

How about that?

PAYNE: Yes.

SHAWN: Charles, back to you.

PAYNE: Funny how it works out that way.

Well, thank you very much, Eric.

And despite all of that, the president is still not ruling out a meeting with Iran's president, if the two should cross paths at the U.N. this week . Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Are you willing to meet with Mr. Rouhani, sir?

TRUMP: We will see what happens. We have a long way to go. We will see what happens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAYNE: With me, former State Department senior adviser Christian Whiton.

Christian, should he meet with him?

CHRISTIAN WHITON, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY SPECIAL ENVOY: Well, if there's something serious to talk about, talk is cheap, so why not?

I think, more important, the president is building what looks like a very strong coalition. It's not going to have everyone. As you point out, the U.N. General Assembly Security Council, a bunch of people who will vote against us no matter what.

If it's part of diplomacy and I think leaving an open door if the Iranians want seriously to talk, but the problem is, is all these people have a pretty long track record of lying through their teeth. So it's sort of hard, even if they say good things in a meeting, to believe they will ever carry them out.

PAYNE: In the meantime, we sent more U.S. assets to Saudi Arabia over the weekend. Boris Johnson has signaled his support of the efforts there.

So the idea of perhaps building this coalition slowly, but surely seems to be working. I always worry, though, about our European -- the allies on the continent who really can't seem to cleave themselves off the economic relationship with Iran.

WHITON: Yes.

And I think we will get through this with another indication that continental Europe, old Europe, Western Europe, minus the U.K., is pretty much irrelevant to this part of the 21st century. They have big economies, but they have opted for decadent decline.

They spend a pittance on defense. And even if they did spend more, it's unclear what they would do with it. The countries that matter here, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, some of the smaller Gulfies, the U.S., Britain, some of our other allies like that.

That is what is going to confront Iran more so than old Europe.

PAYNE: Iran feeling the bite of the sanctions. On Friday, they were extended to the Central Bank.

Now, their reaction has to become more provocative, to go from attacking tankers, to sanctioning perhaps this attack on Saudi Arabia. So you have to wonder, what's the next move going to be? What do they do? What's their next desperate cry of help to somehow pull America into a military confrontation?

WHITON: That's why I think sanctions will work in the long run, the intense pressure we have put on.

But, in the near term, they're going to do what they have always done.

And, unfortunately, they have gotten away with a lot of it.

If you look back over their history, not just the sort of three dozen-plus attacks they have done in this year, but starting with 1979, taking American diplomats hostage, killing 241 Marines in Beirut, kidnapping, torturing and killing U.S. officials, then blowing up the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, and killing hundreds, maybe thousands of Americans in Iraq in the last decade or so, they have gotten away with an awful lot.

That's why I do think this is heading and needs to head to a military confrontation, but not one that we do by ourselves, which is what I think the president is working on in New York and beyond.

PAYNE: Well, would it be one that was led by Saudi Arabia? Would they be the tip of the spear, so to speak, because Americans watching this right now, Christian, do not want to see more American blood shed, particularly if the notion is that it's shed over oil.

WHITON: I think there's a very real possibility, especially if we use more of our stand-off weapons.

The Saudis have a decent air force, nearly 200 F-15s, about 100 other European-made fighters, the Emiratis close to 100 really decent fighter aircraft. The Iranians have junk. They have F-15s bought from us in the 1970s, before their current regime came to power in '79.

So this could be a punch in the face like we delivered to Gadhafi in 1986.

It doesn't need to look anything like Iraq or Afghanistan.

PAYNE: Christian Whiton, thank you very much.

WHITON: Thanks, Charles.

PAYNE: So, if the markets are worried about Iran, they really have a funny way of showing it, eking out a nice gain today, a small gain, but it closed about 130 points off the low. By the way, oil prices also finishing the day higher.

So what would get Wall Street worried?

FOX Business Network's Charlie Gasparino joins me now.

We're stuck in a range. But we were ranged last month, in August. We broke out through there, and it just feels like this market wants to go higher.

(PHONE RINGING)

PAYNE: That was...

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CHARLIE GASPARINO, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: That's your phone, dude.

(LAUGHTER)

GASPARINO: That's the president calling you Fredo.

(LAUGHTER)

GASPARINO: I'm kidding.

Listen, what's interesting about the markets now -- and you and I have been around for a while covering these things -- in the old days, if it looked like any sort of disruption -- disruption of oil supply, guess what? The markets tanked 300 points, right?

We don't have that now. Thankfully, because of fracking, markets are not worried about the Middle East controlling our economy.

PAYNE: Right.

GASPARINO: The bigger issue for us right now, and I think what has markets on edge -- they're clearly on edge, because we have wild swings -- is trade.

And what people don't know -- and this is kind of interesting -- I can't tell you -- and I have spoken to a lot of really smart investors about this -- what will outweigh what?

Will the trade issues, like the tariffs and everything, which is going to be negative for our economy, no doubt, but does the stimulus from the tax cuts and the deregulation outweigh that, and how much?

And that's what markets are sorting through right now. We just don't know.

One other thing I just want everybody to know is, just because the yield curve flattens doesn't mean we're going to have a recession, just so you know that.

PAYNE: Sure. Sure.

GASPARINO: There are technical reasons why the yield curve is flattening.

People -- it would take this whole program to describe what the repo market is. But people need to buy treasury bonds. Because of that, prices go up, interest rates go down. And they do that because they need to -- they need collateral to finance stuff.

PAYNE: Well...

GASPARINO: That's a technical reason that has nothing to do with a recession. Just that's being played out, out there.

PAYNE: But it's so interesting, because you mention that.

And over the weekend, I wrote a piece about the potential things that would have been black swans in the past that would have wrecked the stock market and, more, the economy.

GASPARINO: Right. Right.

PAYNE: The Middle East turmoil, knocking out half of Saudi Arabia's ability to do that.

GASPARINO: Absolutely.

PAYNE: We're saying the notion perhaps the Federal Reserve has to inject cash into our financial system for the first time in a decade.

(CROSSTALK)

GASPARINO: Right. Right.

PAYNE: And now they're committed to doing it every day until October 10.

There are things that before would have -- absolutely have derailed the stock market, and they haven't.

GASPARINO: And the economy.

Because there's a lot of technical reasons why these sort of warnings are cropping up. Yes, we might have a recession, but there's a technical reason why the yield curve is flattening.

Yes, disruption of oil supply is a problem, right, generally. It's better not to have one. However, because of fracking and ingenuity, American ingenuity, we don't have to worry about that so much.

Yes, trade is an issue, but because Donald Trump cut taxes so much on corporations and some on individuals, because he's deregulated so much, that kind of balances that out.

And the markets right now are reflecting the uncertainty of, we don't know where all this stuff is going.

PAYNE: And yet we're still 1 percent from the highs now.

GASPARINO: Sure.

PAYNE: Actually, what I'm kind of concerned -- and Gallup underscored it today. They have a poll out -- 49 percent of Americans think a recession is likely in the next 12 months.

GASPARINO: Right.

PAYNE: Now, this is a survey, and it breaks down along political lines.

GASPARINO: Let me ask you this.

If you thought -- if I asked you, do you think there could be a recession in the next 12 months, what would you say? You're a guy that's been around.

Yes.

PAYNE: Yes.

GASPARINO: I mean, it's possible.

PAYNE: Sure, especially after the longest the economic expansion in history of America, yes.

GASPARINO: We might have a recession in the next 12 months. And I'm kind of worried about it, too.

PAYNE: But here's the thing, though. That's a survey. In reality, the Citigroup economic surprise index just went to its highest level since April of last year.

GASPARINO: Right.

PAYNE: The Bloomberg economic surprise index just went to its highest level since -- in a year. And we just heard President Trump speak to Larry -- ask Larry Kudlow.

GASPARINO: Right.

PAYNE: And the point is, is that what's happening in real life, in real time, this morning, manufacturing came in better than anticipated.

We keep bracing for the worst-case scenario. And, in the meantime, things are going great.

GASPARINO: Well, they're going -- I say they're going good. I wouldn't say great.

But the doomsday is not -- we don't see that in the numbers just yet.

Again, I can't tell you and nobody can tell you, did the tax cuts and deregulation, how much do they outweigh or overshadow or push the economy to perform better more than the negatives of the trade war?

We don't really know yet. And maybe they will -- they will stick -- that will allow us to get through this. I mean, it is very possible.

The numbers suggest...

PAYNE: Well, so far, it has. So far, it has.

GASPARINO: Yes.

PAYNE: Yes. So far, it has.

Charlie, thank you very much.

GASPARINO: OK.

PAYNE: Turns out the whistle-blower didn't have firsthand knowledge of the call between President Trump and the Ukraine's president.

So what's the legal fallout from all this? All rise for the judge.

And the green crowd is seeing red, but will closing down traffic give them what they want? We report, you hide.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The one who's got the problem is Biden, because you look at what Biden did, Biden did what they would like to have me do, except for one problem. I didn't do it.

What Biden did is a disgrace. What his son did is a disgrace.

The son took money from Ukraine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAYNE: President Trump trying to get the attention on former Vice President Biden when it comes to this whole whistle-blower controversy, saying that it is Biden who is in the wrong.

This coming with news the whistle-blower who broke this story didn't have firsthand knowledge of the call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine.

So what's the legal fallout from all of this?

Court is now in session. Judge Andrew Napolitano joins us.

(LAUGHTER)

PAYNE: All right, Judge...

ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS JUDICIAL ANALYST: Remain seated.

PAYNE: Remain seated.

NAPOLITANO: The court is in session.

PAYNE: All right.

NAPOLITANO: All right, a couple of things.

The president knows that when he speaks to a foreign leader that several people that work for him in the intelligence community are listening to the call. He also knows that a transcript of it is being made.

It appears that whoever the whistle-blower's read the transcript, rather than was one of the people on the call. If the transcript was accurate, I don't think it matters whether this person actually heard the call or read the transcript.

The question -- the issue...

PAYNE: But that's an assumption, too, though.

NAPOLITANO: Yes.

PAYNE: Right.

NAPOLITANO: The whole thing's an assumption until the Department of Justice tells the director of national intelligence to comply with the law.

The law says, you shall surrender to the Gang of Eight, as they call them - - that's the chair and ranking member of the two Intelligence Committees, the speaker of the House, the minority leader in the House, the majority leader in the Senate, the minority leader in the Senate. So we all know who the eight of them are.

And the statute is very clear. It doesn't say, except in the case of the president. It says, when there is a whistle-blower in the -- who has filed with the intelligence community, and the inspector general and Trump appointee has said it's urgent and credible, it shall be surrendered to the Gang of Eight.

They're not doing it. I don't think it matters whether this person heard the conversation in real time or read the transcript.

PAYNE: Do you worry, though, that President Trump may have a reason to call this a witch-hunt? Under these circumstances, how politicized all of these agencies that we know were during the campaign, probably are to an extent, that anyone can be a whistle-blower?

I mean, if you don't have to actually have firsthand knowledge of something happening, and it could be potentially hearsay, and you can still trigger this sort of action toward the president, that could be very enticing for the wrong people.

NAPOLITANO: Well, look, the intelligence community has had a trust problem with the president since early on in his administration, when he revealed some things that he shouldn't reveal -- revealed about the location of Israeli intelligence outside of Israel in the Middle East.

And he revealed it to the Russian ambassador and to the Russian foreign minister. So they probably are second-guessing what he says and what he means when he says it.

But we do know that the military aid was held up to Iran (sic). And we do know, when the military aid was delivered, $140 million was also -- in cash -- was added to it, which was more than they even asked for or expected in the form of foreign aid. So was there a promise? Was there a quid pro quo? Was the promise articulated or was it just understood?

These are legitimate questions for Congress to ask.

PAYNE: So Vice President Biden -- and I hear the news reports. They're saying that this was somehow adjudicated, the situation with his son.

I don't remember it ever being thoroughly investigated and some sort of resolution. I remember hearing about it, that it seemed unsavory, that -- but, again, in a world with the 24-hour -- 24/7 news cycle we're in, it felt like one of those things that faded away.

NAPOLITANO: Yes.

Earlier today, sitting right here, David Asman was filling in for Neil, and I said I thought this might jeopardize Vice President Biden's campaign.

This might even be the end of it.

I believe I was wrong. I since have learned that most of Europe wanted this prosecutor to go, that he was an agent of corruption. He wasn't rooting out corruption. And, unfortunately, when he did go, not all the corruption in the Ukraine left.

PAYNE: But were the answers to Joe Biden's son doing this big economic deal, a billion-dollar deal in the Ukraine -- this is something people were concerned about, was there -- was this influence peddling involved in this?

Did he either use his father's name...

(CROSSTALK)

NAPOLITANO: Well, before and after this prosecutor was gone, the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian government, for what their credibility is worth, decided there was no case, there was no there there.

PAYNE: But should America investigate it?

NAPOLITANO: Well, I don't know.

But the president shouldn't be diverting attention from the most serious allegation made against him, far more serious than anything Bob Mueller did, which is an act of political corruption in the formation of -- formulation of foreign policy.

PAYNE: President Trump has hinted that he would like to release the entire transcript. You think that would be a good idea?

NAPOLITANO: I think it will be a great idea. It'll either exonerate him or make things worse.

PAYNE: All right, Judge, thank you very much.

NAPOLITANO: Pleasure, Charles. Always a pleasure, even to follow Gasparino.

(CROSSTALK)

PAYNE: No one can really do that.

(LAUGHTER)

PAYNE: Green protests. Lots of red lights. Climate activists still stopping traffic. Any signs, though, the demonstrations will stop?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: What do we want?

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Climate Justice!

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: When do we want it?

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Now!

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: What do we want?

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Climate Justice!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: When do we want it?

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Now!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAYNE: The only things these protesters are stopping right now is traffic.

The climate change demonstrations in D.C., they continue today. And I got to tell you, the videos have been pretty impressive, except you have to wonder, exactly what are they going to get accomplished, other than stopping traffic, maybe some videos like this, a few very intriguing ones from earlier in the day?

Of course, this is an extension of a protest that began around the world last week, focused in Australia, first and foremost, but also in a lot of major cities in the United States, featuring young people, high schoolers allowed to leave school in certain cities with the permission, by the way, of school systems and their parents.

So it's taking on the sort of feel, right, that sort of '60s feel, where maybe peace, love and a good, happy climate. But, again, there are serious issues when it comes to this.

I mean, we're looking at -- we just had a conversation about how half of Saudi Arabia's oil was put offline, and our economy didn't suffer. That only can happen because of things that have happened in this country since then, the fracking miracle, which, by the way, allows these presidential candidates to crisscross the entire country.

The other things that are going on in this world. So it's one thing to see these protesters. It's another thing to understand and even perhaps empathize with them. But you wonder, who's articulating the other side of this message? Who's saying perhaps there won't be mass extinction in the next 12 years?

We have lived through these sort of fear things before in the past, whether it was Malthusian, the world was going to run out of food and other things like that.

So we do have someone who supports this cost very much.

Let's bring in Cathy Areu. She's the publisher of "Catalina" magazine.

So, Cathy, more traffic stops, more idle engine, more pollution, I hope you're happy.

CATHY AREU, PUBLISHER, CATALINA: I'm happy.

I'm definitely happy with the paper straws and people taking recyclable bags to the grocery store, and the climate crisis being brought to national attention. It's wonderful. This is how counterculture -- counterculture gets heard in the United States, just like in the '60s.

A small group of people get together and get heard and change happens.

PAYNE: So what exactly do they want us to change? I mean, besides the -- besides the paper straws, which I'm still struggling with, you know, what exactly do they think...

AREU: Are you?

PAYNE: Yes. Oh, yes. I had a tough time at brunch yesterday.

But you know what? I did it the old-fashioned way and just threw the straw away and drank straight from the cup.

AREU: You poor thing.

PAYNE: But, really, Cathy, what are they trying to really accomplish when you say to these young people that their world will end, that the entire process, the world is over in 12 years?

Do you feel the fear-mongering amongst the adults who are telling them this is irresponsible?

AREU: Actually, it seems like definitely we have gotten word that this is a movement led by teenagers.

The very young are so upset about the climate crisis. And we have seen with the Kyoto agreement thrown away by the United States -- the Paris agreement has been thrown away by the United States -- the United States hasn't done anything.

So many worlds have not -- so many countries have not done anything in the world, that they're coming together finally, because younger generations are telling older leaders, we're tired of it. We're going to inherit this world. Do something about it for us.

PAYNE: Right.

AREU: So why don't we listen to the young people?

I mean, we are always preaching that we listen to our young.

(CROSSTALK)

PAYNE: I will say the United States did something extremely important.

And they brought down their CO2 levels with the fracking miracle and natural gas.

In the meantime, China's has gone up about 200 percent. India has gone up over 100 percent.

What exactly, again, could we do in this country by raising taxes, by taking trillions of dollars out of the economy? How do we solve the world's climate issue? Even if you believe that the clock is ticking and there's 12 years left, how do we fix this?

AREU: Twelve years left, no one knows that. No scientist has proven that.

But younger generations have said, we want something new. And creating the windmills. If you go to south of Spain, you see the windmills. There's so many job opportunities, jobs that can be created in this country, with green deals, with a green economy.

So the wave of the future is not maybe fracking, which no one has ever proven can make $1. Fracking doesn't mean you can necessarily get oil. So perhaps windmills are the answer. Perhaps solar panels are the answer. We should look at different manufacturing jobs for our future.

And the jobs are all there in the green economy.

PAYNE: All right, I don't even know where to begin.

But fracking has created this oil miracle that America sits on right now.

And it's the reason why we're not -- we can have these conversations and these politicians can fly around the country.

But I do want to say this. I think it's...

AREU: Yes.

PAYNE: Again, no one is telling me how this Green New Deal would really, really work and be effective in two things.

I don't think it would create jobs, because we saw solar initiatives, for instance, in California, billions of dollars that built these gigantic solar farms, if you will, that had 12 permanent jobs. And no one's telling us exactly how it will fix the climate.

All I know is that our taxes are going up and the economic future my family's going to be threatened. And that worries me.

AREU: Well, it's the same thing. No one's told me exactly how the trade war with China is going to help our economy.

It just shows that farmers are being left out and they're needing help from their government. So if everyone works together and figures out how to help our future and create new jobs with solar energy and with the windmills, we can look at Europe.

They're very advanced when it comes to green manufacturing jobs.

PAYNE: All right.

AREU: So if we combine our knowledge, I bet we will all be millionaires, all of us.

PAYNE: We will leave it here with you tilting at windmills.

Cathy, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

AREU: Thank you.

PAYNE: Well, Democrats calling for an investigation into the Ukraine whistle-blower controversy, but should Joe Biden be the one worried?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: President Trump meeting with the Egyptian president, as France's President Emmanuel Macron is set to meet with Iran's President Rouhani later on this evening. We're jam-packed at the U.N.

And we will be right back in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham calling for a DOJ investigation into former Vice President Biden's possible ties to Ukraine.

Our Peter Doocy with the latest -- Peter.

PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Charles, Joe Biden was very heated this weekend when I asked him a very straightforward question about President Trump's interest in his son.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOOCY: How many times have you ever spoken to your son about his overseas business dealings?

JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.

You should be looking at Trump. Trump know is doing this because he knows I will beat him like a drum, and he's using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me.

Everybody looked at this, and everybody who has looked at it said there's nothing there. Ask the right questions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOOCY: But the right questions are about the Biden family's business dealings, according to Republican lawmakers who are tight with Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): So what I'm asking for is for us to take some time and effort to look at what the Ukraine may have done in the 2016 election. What role, if any, did the Bidens have to the Ukraine? Was it proper? Was it not?

I promise you the American media is not going to look at it. I'm hoping someday at the Department of Justice will do for the Biden-Ukraine connection what we did for the Trump-Russia connection.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOOCY: So, even though President Trump is trying to shift public attention on to Joe Biden, Joe Biden is keeping his attention on President Trump.

That is something that he has done more than any other Democratic candidate from the very first day of his campaign -- Charles.

PAYNE: Peter, thank you very much.

Well, President Trump weighing in on the Ukraine whistle-blower controversy, calling it nothing but another witch-hunt by the Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: How seriously are you taking the impeachment talk?

TRUMP: Not at all seriously.

We had a perfect phone call with the president of Ukraine. Everybody knows it. It's just a Democrat witch-hunt. Here we go again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAYNE: So, is it a witch-hunt?

Well, let's ask Axios reporter Caitlin Owens, Democratic strategist Jason Nichols, and FOX News contributor Rachel Campos Duffy.

Rachel, let me start with you.

RACHEL CAMPOS DUFFY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: OK.

PAYNE: It certainly sounds like -- it sounds like it's a fishing expedition, if not worse.

CAMPOS DUFFY: Absolutely. This is not a Trump scandal. This is a 100 percent a Biden scandal.

PAYNE: Hold on one second. I'm sorry, Rachel. Let me just...

CAMPOS DUFFY: Yes.

PAYNE: We're going to go to President Trump for one moment.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

TRUMP: It was in turmoil. And it's not in turmoil now.

So, I just want to say, we have a long-term, great relationship. It's better than ever before. We're doing a lot of trading, a lot of business.

We're talking about many different locations like Libya.

I think Libya might just be a subject that we're going to be discussing. I have a feeling.

And the relationship is great. It's great to have you. Thank you very much, Mr. President.

ABDEL FATTAH EL-SISI, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I thank you, Mr. President. It's a great pleasure to have this meeting with you.

And this is the second meeting in less than two months. This speaks volumes...

TRUMP: Yes.

EL-SISI (through translator): ... of the level and depth of understanding, and the great appreciation that I hold for your country.

Your Excellency, let me go on the record to stress the wisdom in dealing with -- handling the military option and in dealing with Egypt and especially challenges.

Thank you, Mr. President.

TRUMP: Thank you all very much. Thank you.

QUESTION: Mr. President, are you worried about the demonstration in Egypt that's calling for President El-Sisi to go?

TRUMP: Louder, please.

QUESTION: Are you worried about demonstrations in Egypt that's been calling for president...

TRUMP: Demonstrations?

QUESTION: Yes, in Egypt, that's been calling for President El-Sisi to go.

TRUMP: No, I guess everybody has demonstrations. Even your best friend in the whole world, President Obama, he had a lot of demonstrations.

No, I'm not -- I'm not concerned with it. Egypt has a great leader. He's highly respected. He's brought order. Before he was here, there was very little order. There was chaos. And so I'm not worried about that at all.

QUESTION: Mr. President, did Sheldon Adelson or any other Republican donors ask you to tone down your trade dispute with China just because they're concerned about the economy or the impact?

TRUMP: No, we're doing very well with China. We are way up. Our stock market is up many, many, many trillions of dollars, and our country's worth is up many trillions of dollars. And China is down many trillions of dollars.

If my opponent had won the election, China's economy would have surpassed the United States by now. And, with me, there's a tremendous difference.

We're way number one, and China is number two. And China is going to do fine. We're talking to China. We have very serious conversations coming up, Steve.

You might want to talk about that for just one second.

STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: We're meeting with the Vice Premier. He'll be coming to Washington, D.C., next week.

We look forward to those conversations. We had a deputy-level meeting.

And as the president has instructed us all along, if we can get the right deal, we'll do it. If not, we're perfectly comfortable where we are.

TRUMP: China wants to make a deal. They have a lot of people that don't have jobs now because their supply chain is broken.

And we'll see what happens. But they're also starting to buy our agricultural product. They're making a big move toward buying our actual - - you know, our product, and the ag product. And I appreciate that very much.

I was telling people to tell President Xi we appreciate it. But they are starting to buy our agricultural product. And China wants to make a deal.

We'll see what happens.

QUESTION: Did Adelson try to contact you about this issue?

TRUMP: I don't want to say that.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: President Trump, is there any opportunity to have a meeting with the French President regarding Iran?

TRUMP: Well, Emmanuel is a friend of mine. And he can always have a meeting. And we've had to turn down many meetings, because for some reason, everybody wants to meet with us. And I consider it a great honor.

But they want to meet.

The United States is doing really well. Everybody wants to meet with the United States. We can't do everybody. So we've turned down, unfortunately, far more than we can do. We've had a lot of meetings today, the bilats.

But Egypt is a very special place, a very important place. I think you have the largest population anywhere in your part of the world, by far.

EL-SISI: Yes.

TRUMP: And my wife was there, and she took these beautiful pictures with the Pyramids in the back. She loved the Pyramids.

She was in love with the Pyramids. And you treated her so nicely. But the first lady was there with a group. And those pyramids are something very special. The pictures were something she'll never forget. That was really good.

OK.

QUESTION: Mr. President, is it possible to ask a question of the Egyptian President of whether he has any comments, sir, on the demonstrations going on right now in your country?

TRUMP: Sure.

EL-SISI (through translator): Let me say that you will always find something like this in our region, especially with political Islam. There have been efforts that have been put forth for many years to make sure that this political Islam is having a role on the political arena. And, consequently, this part of the world will remain in a state of instability as long as political Islam (INAUDIBLE).

Well, I want you to rest assured that, especially in Egypt, the public opinion and the people themselves are refusing this kind of political Islam to Egypt. They have demonstrated their refusal before, and they refuse those to have control on the country for only one year.

TRUMP: OK. Steve?

QUESTION: The French president is trying to play this mediation role with Iran. Is that something you support or something that will work?

TRUMP: We don't need a mediator. Iran wants to do something, and I don't think we need a mediator. He's a friend of mine. But we're not looking for any mediators. They know who to call.

QUESTION: Mr. President, is there a scenario where you could meet President Rouhani this week in New York?

TRUMP: Well, we have no meeting scheduled.

Somebody said they'd like to meet. There was some talk about Yemen. All of the sudden, they want to get out of Yemen. That's a good thing. I just heard that a little while ago, as you probably heard it.

We'll see what happens. But we have nothing scheduled at this moment.

QUESTION: But you wouldn't rule it out?

TRUMP: I never rule anything out. Why would I do that?

QUESTION: Mr. President, the Chinese delayed a trade delegation visit of farming communities, I believe in Nebraska and another state. Can you comment on that and whether you see that as a good sign, bad sign, neither?

TRUMP: Well, they're starting to buy a lot of our ag product. But, Steve, could you maybe...

MNUCHIN: That was actually at our request they delayed that. So, we didn't want there to be any confusion. They have started buying agriculture. They're going to reschedule that at a different time. The timing didn't work. But that was -- that was purely at our request.

TRUMP: Why was that our request? Just out of curiosity.

MNUCHIN: We didn't want confusion around the trade issues.

TRUMP: Yes, but I want them to buy farm products.

MNUCHIN: There was no confusion. We want them to buy agriculture.

They've committed to buy agriculture. And they're doing that.

TRUMP: They've committed to buy a lot of agriculture, and they're going to start, and they've started. And we should get them over there as soon as possible so they can start buying.

But they have already started buying, as you know and as you've heard, a lot of product from our farmers, our ranchers. OK?

Thank you very much. Thank you, everybody. Thank you very much.

PAYNE: All right, so we just saw President Trump with the president of Egypt answer a variety of questions.

It always circles back to China trade and, of course, that knee-jerk reaction on Friday, when everything was misinterpreted with respect to China visiting our farmers.

I want to go back to our panel, reporter Caitlin Owens, Democratic strategist Jason Nichols, and FOX News contributor Rachel Campos Duffy.

Rachel, I was trying to start with you.

Can we pick up from there?

CAMPOS DUFFY: Absolutely.

Well, talk about China. The president gave the moniker of sleepy Joe to Joe Biden. I always thought that Joe China or China Joe, and now China- Ukraine Joe are better.

(LAUGHTER)

CAMPOS DUFFY: This is a Biden scandal. The media is trying to turn it into a Trump scandal, and the American people aren't going to buy it.

There's only one person who was getting over $50,000 a month on this billion-dollar bill. And that was Hunter Biden, not Donald Trump Jr. And there's only one person on Trump doing the bidding of the Ukrainian clients by Hunter -- that Hunter Biden was getting the money from. And that is Joe Biden.

It's comical to me. But I just want to add one more thing. The Trump family has never enriched themselves off of their service to this country.

Ivanka lost a shoe deal with Nordstrom. Trump lost -- Donald Trump lost Macy's. He doesn't even draw a salary as the president. He donates it back to the government.

You can contrast that very well with the Bidens, who have gotten rich off of their service to the United States government.

PAYNE: Caitlin, Rachel brought up the media.

I think one of the reasons that a lot of people are going to be skeptical about any of these deals, whether you believe it's a witch-hunt or not, is because the media has lost a lot of credibility reporting these and maybe even fanning the flames of some that have not really proven anything.

CAITLIN OWENS, AXIOS: Yes, and I think that's the difficult thing about this situation, Charles, because the truth is, I mean, as far as anyone knows right now, there is no there with the Joe Biden investigation.

I think the most that we can say is that it looks bad that Hunter Biden was on the board of this company. But Joe -- there were reasons.

Joe Biden supported the ouster of this Ukrainian prosecutor because he was -- because of the corruption allegations against this prosecutor.

Now, the problem is that, of course, we don't know what we don't know.

That's always the case, right? But the problem is that, yes, we live in this world where people tend to believe what they want to believe, based on their political party.

So I think that this will come down to, the president -- if you're a president -- a supporter of President Trump, you will believe him.

PAYNE: Right. Right.

Jason, it's -- this could boomerang back on Biden. I don't know how much or how hard Democrats really want to push on this, particularly after the dry holes with Russia, racism, Mueller. All of these things seemed to have not really done what they thought it would do.

This could actually backfire on the Democrats as well.

JASON NICHOLS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don't think so, Charles.

I really think that, when you look at this situation, they know that there's nothing there. There's no credible evidence that the vice president acted with any kind of impropriety. And it's not going to hurt Biden one bit.

The thing that's going to hurt Biden is the senator from Massachusetts.

And that's the only thing he should really be worried about right now.

I think, if anything, because his base is anti-Trump, this may actually help him. This may actually bolster him amongst people who really want to see this president gone in 2020.

PAYNE: I don't know.

Rachel, I got 30 seconds, but the sale for Biden is that he could beat Trump with those same swing voters that voted twice for President Obama and turned to -- so, I'm not sure that this is the thing that will galvanize them to swing back.

CAMPOS DUFFY: Oh, no, this is backfiring on Biden.

It will continue to backfire on Biden. And your guest, is it Jason, is right. The biggest threat to Biden -- in fact, maybe Warren's campaign is helping the media to go after this story because it will hurt Joe Biden.

PAYNE: Right.

CAMPOS DUFFY: I think Elizabeth Warren is the biggest threat, but she's also the best candidate up against Trump, because it will contrast socialism and capitalism like no other candidate, because she is a socialist, despite saying she isn't.

She loves...

(CROSSTALK)

PAYNE: Well, she's got the momentum. She's got the momentum.

Guys, I have got to go. I'm sorry.

CAMPOS DUFFY: She's got the momentum.

PAYNE: Of course, we were interrupted there by the impromptu Q&A at the U.N.

CAMPOS DUFFY: No problem.

PAYNE: Thank you all very much.

And, by the way, we are learning more today about former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's plan to wiretap the president. He wrote it off as a joke, but was it?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: A newly released memo shows former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein proposed wearing a wire in the Oval Office to -- quote -- "collect additional evidence on the president's true intentions."

So where is all of this heading?

Catherine Herridge is in Washington with the very latest -- Catherine.

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Charles, and good afternoon.

Judicial Watch has obtained this lightly redacted two-page memo from former FBI acting and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe that memorialized a May 2017 conversation with then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The timing here matters, because the special counsel, Robert Mueller, was appointed the following day. Written on May 16, 2017, McCabe describes his decision to open a obstruction of justice and conspiracy investigation into President Trump for firing FBI Director James Comey and related matters.

According to the memo, McCabe took Rosenstein's offer to record the president so seriously that he ran the idea by his FBI investigative team - - quote -- "As our conversation continued, the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, or DAG, proposed that he could potentially wear a recording device into the Oval Office to collect additional evidence on the president's true intentions.

"He said he thought this might be possible because he wasn't searched when he entered the White House. I told him that I would discuss the opportunity with my investigative team and get back to him."

Earlier this year, after the special counsel report was released, FOX News asked President Trump how Rosenstein explained these allegations against him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERRIDGE: Did he have a phone call with you about it? Did he explain it on Air Force One?

TRUMP: I mean, honestly, I'd much rather have you ask him that question.

It sounds a little bit far-fetched, frankly, but a lot of things in this case are far-fetched. But I got along with him. And I think that question, you would probably have to ask him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HERRIDGE: FOX News followed up twice with Rosenstein after that interview, and he didn't respond to our request for comment.

When these allegations first surfaced, Charles, those close to Rosenstein said his statements were sarcastic. But the McCabe letter offers an awful lot of detail about this alleged plan to get additional evidence about the president -- Charles.

PAYNE: Catherine, no one has covered this better than you, and yet it doesn't end. We appreciate it. Thank you very much.

HERRIDGE: Doesn't add up.

PAYNE: No, it does not.

HERRIDGE: It does not.

PAYNE: All righty.

Well, parents in the college admissions scandal could be facing much harsher sentences than Felicity Huffman's two weeks. Does this mean more trouble for Lori Loughlin?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS LENNON, EMMY COMMENTATOR: Producers have asked me to give a special shout-out to any of our previous lead actress winners who are watching tonight from prison. Hopefully, those two weeks are going to fly right by.

(LAUGHTER)

LENNON: Keep your chin up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAYNE: Ouch.

Well, a not-so-subtle swing at actress Felicity Huffman during last night's Emmy Awards, this amid reports prosecutors are doubling down on requests for prison time for parents who are linked to the college admissions scandal.

So what could this mean for actress Lori Loughlin?

Attorney Brad Micklin is here to shed light on the legal troubles that seem like they have gotten a whole lot worse, Brad.

BRAD MICKLIN, ATTORNEY: Well, you would think so.

Originally, when Huffman got time, I thought that was going to be the baseline, and that everybody after that would just have to go up further and further. But the judge has recently said that she's not going to necessarily use the dollar amount as an indication of whether or not there's time or more time.

So we're not really sure just yet.

PAYNE: Yes, but when you start talking about $15,000, someone being contrite, someone apologizing, throwing themselves at the mercy of the court, still getting time, I got to believe, if I'm found guilty, and it's a lot more egregious, much bigger money, I wouldn't admit guilt, I went to court, I used up the time, I insulted the intelligence of the criminal justice system, as well as society, because this judge seems to really be - - to really care about society's impact here, that the rich can't get away with this stuff.

I would be -- if I'm Lori Loughlin, I'm asking my attorneys, can we reverse course?

MICKLIN: Right. I think a lot of people would be upset.

And I know we have two more people this week, I think, being sentenced.

You plead because it's faster, cheaper and safer on both sides. And if you have people now believing that they could escape time, even though Huffman didn't, then it's going to confuse and give inconsistent decisions, inconsistent plea agreements.

I don't think it can be handled that way.

PAYNE: So we have got 51 of have been charged, 23 have pled guilty. So you do have the majority who still want to go through the legal process.

The most recent arrest is a Chinese national who lived in Canada, but was arrested in Spain, $400,000. Again, the general public looks at this, and it looks like the rich is trying to try to buy -- buy themselves out of this again.

MICKLIN: Well, that's exactly what it is. I mean, they bought themselves into it, and they're going to try to buy themselves out of it.

And I don't think the American people will be happy...

PAYNE: Yes.

MICKLIN: ... if it does come out that inconsistent decisions are coming down.

PAYNE: All right, Brad, thank you very much. Really appreciate it.

MICKLIN: Thanks a lot, Charles.

PAYNE: Of course, I will be back tomorrow 2:00 p.m. on the FOX Business Network, "Making Money." And we could maybe see the market move toward all-time highs.

In the meantime, "The Five" starts now.

Thank you for watching. We will see you tomorrow.

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